In addition to the restoration of the Grande Theatre project by the Alliance for Hispanic Arts & Culture, the city of Harlingen is currently working to redevelop Gutierrez Park, the two-acre park at the heart of the La Placita District.
The area, which has long been plagued with derelict buildings, drunks and prostitutes, is getting cleaned up and revamped in hopes of becoming the city’s cultural center. Often overlooked by the Harrison Ave. passersby, Gutierrez Park is the closest thing to a Harlingen town square.
The city has partnered with UTB’s Pre-Architecture program, where students have been working on various designs to renovate the park, all inspired by parks around the world.
“While several designs resembled traditional Mexican plazas with central bandstands others featured jogging trails, art space, natural plantings, and a walk-through splash pad. Each model incorporated restrooms and honored veterans. In the coming months, the Revitalization Task Force and other partners will use the models to formulate long-range plans for Gutierrez Park.”
Partnering with the university is very affordable for the city, not to mention a great way to give students experience, not only in designing, but surveying, model-building and dealing with real-world situations.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, AfHAC is attempting to increase public support of the cultural arts and transform the La Placita area into a cultural arts district.
More than anything, these projects need the support of the public.